Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Hildegard von Bingen: A Woman of Vision

Vision is a wonderful film about the life of the 12th century Benedictine nun, Hildegard von Bingen. von Bingen was a woman well ahead of her time, a maveric in every positive sense of that word. She was multi-talented; a Christian mystic, writer, composer, naturalist, herbalist and ecological activist.

Each time I hear that name, "Hildegard von Bingen", I am reminded that I first learned about this unique woman in a monastic setting, at the Order of the Holy Cross, West Park, New York. How fitting was that and yet how appropriate! A personal reminder of the great religious and spiritual writers who have come from monastic settings. This German film does a fantastic job in introducing one of the fascinating religious mystics of her time and ours.

Born almost a thousand years ago (that's right a thousand years), von Bingen remains a person who seems well ahead of her time. Surprisingly von Bingen's life, themes, and interests seem strangely modern and resonate to us moderns. The film demonstrates how with courage von Bingen was able to challenge church rules and found several convents. She was also a theologian who loved books and learning. Some of the titles of von Bingen's books are "Know the Paths of the Lord", "The Healing Power of Nature", and "The Book of Divine Works". von Bingen was also a scientist and herbalist. She was also a composer and her music is wonderful and hanuting-again ahead of her time. And just as the title Vision indicates, von Bingen also had "visions" of God and the future.

Vision is an important film for several reasons. Here you will be introduced to a unique and passionate Christian mystic. Second, you will have the opportunity to learn about a fascinating and profound woman who seemed well ahead of her time and even ours. Third, you will be introduced to von Bingen's main ideas and some of her music. Fourth, you will have the chance to learn something about the Benedictine way and tradition. Fifth, you will understand that von Bingen also is within the Celtic tradition. von Bingen warned that we needed to protect Nature and that if we mistreated "the elements", it could turn against us. 

I've included a link here where you can see clips from the movie and listen to some of von Bingen's music.


  1. sir, you have wonderfully explained

  2. You used the wrong heading for your critique of the movie you are reviewing. The movie you linked to and reviewed is called "Vision: From the life of Hildegard von Bingen." The title you used "Hildegard (von Bingen): A woman of vision" was a movie that came out in 1995. You might want to make the correction because in the search it might get confusing.